how to become a police officer in Massachusetts

If you want to become a cop in the state of Massachusetts, you must know that it’s not going to be easy. There are several hurdles you’ll need to cross in order to wear the badge. The first thing you can do to make yourself more attractive to potential departments in MA is to enroll yourself in the police training academy.

Here are the requirements needed to become a police officer as well as qualifications needed to enter the police academy in MA:

For appointments into the Boston Police Academy, applicants must take and pass the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Written Police Examination. The civil service exam is given every two years.

In order to become a police officer in Massachusetts, you must pass the background check. In addition,  if you want to work for the Boston Police Department you must be a resident of the city for at least one year prior to taking the civil service exam.

To become a police officer in the Commonwealth of MA, applicants must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen (birth or naturalized)
  2. Be at least 21 years of age
  3. Possess a High School Diploma or have a G.E.D. Certificate or served at least 3 years in the United States Armed Forces with an honorable discharge or release.
  4. Possess a valid Massachusetts motor vehicle operator’s license

I hope this article helped you!

County agencies

City agencies

Town agencies

Easiest police department to get hired

I got an email today from a young man in Miami, Fl. He wanted to know what are the easiest police department to get hired at. He made it clear in the email that he wants to take the road of little to no resistance – without any hurdles whatsoever.  I wish I could tell you there is an easy route that you can take in order to become a police officer, but the truth is there is no easy way.

There are some things you can do to make yourself more hire-able by scoring him on your Police oral exam, and the law enforcement entrance test, but ultimately there is no easy road. If there was one, I would have taken it.

Here’s my response to this young lad: Becoming a cop is not easy, you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the grueling hiring process. There are somethings you can’t really prepare for like the emotional roller coaster of not knowing if you did okay or not on the polygraph test, psych test, or the oral board interview. Trust me, my head was spinning after my oral board interview.

You’ll have to pass several different exams before you are even considered by the hiring board. Can it be done, yes; but you must stay the course. If you get eliminated, don’t get discouraged as statistics show over 50% of all police officers get eliminated their first time around. In my department alone a lot of cops had to go through the process at least twice before they got hired.

So don’t sweat it if you didn’t score high enough on the police exam your first time through; simply re-take it and you’ll do better next time around. I know a few cops that had to re-take the exam at least three times before they got hired.

Don’t look for an easy way out because there aren’t any. Instead focus on ways to make yourself more hire-able by getting a top score on the oral board exam.

Police Officer Polygraph test – Addressing Illegal drug questions

If you’re seeking a career in law enforcement and you’ve used drugs in the past, the best thing to do is to be honest about it. If you try to withhold that piece of information from the polygraph examiner, background investigators, or the police interview panel you’ll likely get disqualified immediately.

Although you’ll be asked straight forward questions about past drug use during the polygraph test, members on the oral interview panel may also ask you about it as well.

Some departments won’t allow you to continue on in the hiring process if you have excessive drug use patterns or you’ve used in the last two or three years. If you’re considering a career in police work, I suggest you stay as far as you can from illegal drug activity.

Of course the drug policy varies from department to department and from state to state, but I wouldn’t chance it by sneaking a few puffs in right before your polygraph exam.

Why am I saying this…..

I knew of a recruit when I was going through the process, who had actually gotten high the night before his polygraph examination. Needless to say, he was booted and hasn’t been heard from again.

Always be up front about past drug activity. I don’t care what drug it might have been. If it was marijuana or other drugs, simply be up front about it. Departments realize there are quite a few qualified candidates who might have made a mistake or two in their lifetime, but damage is irreparable when you lie about it. That is inexcusable, and grounds for immediate disqualification.

So how should you address illegal drug questions:

To put it simple, the best way to answer an illegal drug question is to remain calm and tell the truth. Be completely honest with the polygraph examiner and you’ll do fine. There’s no certain way to get eliminated from the recruiting process then to straight up lie about pass drug use.

Don’t go into your test unprepared, instead Click Here to download a comprehensive list of common polygraph test questions with explanation on how to answer them.

Houston Police Department Hiring Process Tips

If you want to become a cop for the Houston Police Department, let me be the first to say it’s not going to be easy. A lot of people are now realizing the private sector is not as stable as it once was ten years ago. As a result, many people are looking for the security of a government job in law enforcement.

The down turn in the economy has significantly increased the volume of applications submitted to the Houston Police Department every single day. To insure that you stand out and are the one to subsequently get hired, you must prepare yourself. Here are a few things  I’ve listed below that many candidates take for granted, but is essential to getting hired.

The Application Process:

Many potential recruits take this part of the process lightly and I’ve seen a lot of applicants get the boot because they simply didn’t complete the application correctly. Misspellings and grammatical errors are just a few things that will get your application tossed to the side. Another thing is leaving some portion of the application blank because you didn’t understand what was being asked. If you’re uncertain about a question on the application, don’t just leave it blank, call the recruiting officer for clarification.

Police Written Exam:

The entrance exam is basically a filtering tool for the Houston Police Department. As I mentioned earlier the Houston Police Department is flooded with applications. So the only legitimate way to eliminate some of these people who will not be good cops is through the police exam. Normally the entrance exam will wipe out around 50% of all applicants and the polygraph will take out another 10%. The good thing about the police exam is that it’s predictable and you can actually prepare for it by getting a good police exam study guide.

Police Oral Board Interview:

The oral board exam will ultimately make you or break you. If you have a poor performance in front of the oral board, you might as well pack it up. In contrast, if you have an outstanding interview, you’ll most likely get offered the job. Just like the police exam, the oral board interview is fairly predictable and you can prepare for it with a good study guide.

I’m always at a lost when I see candidates flunk the police exam when it could have been prevented only if they had taken a few practice exams that are available at several reputable sources online. They go into it ill-prepared and as a result they fail the exam.

Why You Don’t Need A College Degree To Be A Cop

I’ve been a police officer for several years now and it still irks me when I see online ads falsely claiming you must sign up for their high priced college courses in order to become a police officer. Don’t buy into this. The truth is you don’t need a college degree in order to become a cop. In fact, if you are at least 21, have high character, a clean record, and good communication skills you can be an effective police officer.

So can a college degree help get the job?

In my opinion no but there are some exceptions. The exception is if you’re written exam and oral exam scores are equal to someone else who does not have a degree than you’ll get the job, but the chances that will happen are slim.

Here’s the key to getting a law enforcement job without a college degree

If you have a college degree, that’s great as it will help you if you have aspirations of becoming Chief of Police one day or you might want to do a lateral move to a federal position. If that’s the case, then you’ll definitely want a college degree. I don’t want to come off as someone who is against a college degree because I’m not.

In fact, I have two degrees myself.  My whole point is to counter those ridiculous ads that make it sound like the only way to become a cop is to sign up for their outrageous thousand dollar course. It just isn’t right.

Your performance on the oral board interview is more important than anything. If you have a poor performance on the oral exam, it won’t matter if you have a college degree or not.

The hiring panel puts more emphasis on how well you do on the oral board interview. If you have a bad interview, you’ll most likely get eliminated from the hiring pool. On the other hand, if you impress during the oral interview, you’ll most likely get the job.

The oral exam is vital as it measures your ability to problem solve and make quick decisions in various highly stressful situations. That is why the hiring board puts more stock into the interview to determine who’s the best fit for their department.

How to prepare for the oral exam

The best way to prepare for the oral exam is to practice answering the most commonly asked police interview questions in the mirror. There are some common questions the board members will ask you no matter where you are you live. I mention the mirror because you must understand some of the raters on the board will be police officers and they are master body language readers. So the mirror will help you monitor your non-verbal cues.

In conclusion, instead of paying for those high priced courses, try to focus your attention on preparing for the oral board exam. You can get the top 100 most commonly asked police interview questions here.

Law Enforcement Career – Steps To Become A Police Officer

The things you need to do to become a Police Officer vary depending on where you are trying to get a job. Most US states now have some form of “Police Officer Standards & Training” criteria. This is commonly abbreviated as POST.

Steps

  • Consider joining a Police Explorer post in your area (if you are still a teenager).
  • Take some foreign language classes as this will give you competitve edege over other applicants.
  • Check with local community colleges or state universities to see if they offer some pre-academy related classes. .
  • Try to stay strong and fit to prepare yourself for the pre-employment agility test.
  • Before you become a cop, find a job that’s related with law enforcement like security work or loss prevention officer for the local supermarket(it looks good on your application)
  • Submit an application to the agency to is very important that you complete the application correctly as you will get disqualified if it’s not competed correctly.
  • After submitting your application, you’ll be invited to take the entrance written exam (very important that you score high on the exam as there will be a lot of applicants taking the test along with you and you want to stand out from the pact).
  • If you pass this, you will get called back for a physical agility test. Sometimes both agility test and written test  is done on the same day.  The fitness test usually involves running, sit-ups, pull-ups and other activities that simulate situations you might encounter on the job.
  • If you pass the agility test, the next step will likely be an oral interview and/or polygraph test. After the oral interview, a background check is conducted, and if you pass that, you will be called back for the physical exam, drug testing, etc..
  • If you pass the polygraph test, and oral board interview, your name will be placed on an eligibility list. Your position on the list is determined by a combination of your scores on the written and agility tests, and the scores given by the interview board.

Tips tp improve your chance of getting hired..

  • Go on at least 1-2 police ride-along per month to gain valuable job experience. This also shows the department that you are serious about becoming a cop.
  • Give community service to show your appreciation towards the community.
  • Become an Eagle Scout (or girl scout) if under 18.

Conclusion

Most local and state departments require you to pass a physical agility test which involves situps, pushups, and running. can be difficult or impossible if you have not been training before the test.

If you  lack upper body strength, try doing some bodyweight exercises at home.  You can do this by doing as many push-ups as you can in 1 minute. Do this 3 times a week for 2-3 months straight and you’ll increase your pushups over 35%.

You will also have to do 35-40 situps in 1 minute and complete a 1.5 mile run in anywhere from 10:45 to 12:25. The application for the department you are applying for should detail the exact standards that are used for their particular department.

Some department’s physical agility testing, such as the NYPD, you are required to run a course set up as if you were on the streets. This course is timed, and you must meet or exceed this time in order to continue to the next step.

There is usually a sand dummy used (weighing up to 200+ lbs at times) at the end of the course which you must drag or carry a certain distance while wearing a weighted gun belt.

Practice running a full-on active course (walls, fences, steps, tires, etc.) and then at the end, try to move a dead weight jointed sand dummy more than 15 feet. You’ll be amazed at how difficult it is. So practice! Wear a weighted belt as you practice to get used to the extra bulk and weight – usually about 20 lbs will do for a realistic feel.

The police  written test is mainly focused on how well you can remember details (as well as how good your written English skills are). They want to know that when you give a description of a person (i.e. suspect, victim, etc.) that it is as accurate as possible. This is very important to your job.

Pay attention to the small details that most people usually forget or never even notice. You can practice this at a park where there are “walkers” (someone who is walking a track, and will pass you several times). Take a pad and writing tool with you, sit on a bench near the track and wait.

When someone passes you on the track, watch the person (don’t stalk him or her, you may get the real police called on you!). After the person has gone out of sight, write down all you remember about him or her. When the person comes back around the track, see how well you did.

Top 10 Best Paying States For Police Officers

As you guys know I blog on my off duty time because well for one I like it and I enjoy helping folks that want to become cops. I get a lot of emails daily from people all over about how to prepare for the police exam, and oral board interview and etc. If I don’t answer your email right away, please be patient. I answer all incoming emails personally, I don’t have an assistance to do this.  So, image trying to answer over 50, sometimes 80 emails a day. You get my drift.

Today I’m going to switch gears as this data is good for people who are willing to relocate and find the best paying states for police officers. Here’s what I found that I wanted to share with you.

Police officers and Sheriff deputies are the third most in-demand profession in the Homeland Security sector. There is projected need for 265,000 police officers by the end of 2014; but that is not to say that some states have a higher need than others. The following is a guide that I found that will help you navigate, state by state, the law enforcement employment gauntlet.

(*These stats are based off of mean salaries ending in the year 2006)

 

State

Wage

1.

New Jersey

$33.88

2.

California

$33.12

3.

Illinois

$28.81

4.

Washington

$28.48

5.

Nevada

$27.74

6.

Alaska

$26.98

7.

Connecticut

$26.72

8.

Pennsylvania

$25.76

9.

Colorado

$25.57

10.

Oregon

$24.76

*States not reporting: New York and District of Columbia

Special message: If you’re interested in law enforcement, there’s a few things that you must know. First, you must score high on civil service police exam, and then you must pass the police oral board interview in impressive fashion.

The entire process may take around 6 months to complete as you’ll be required to take a psych evaluation test, polygraph, and background check. Even after completing these steps, you’re still not guaranteed a job.

If you want to increase your chance of getting hired, focus on scoring high on the police oral board interview, and the police exam. They are the single most important phases of the hiring process. If you score high on both, you’ll most likely be offered the job.

For an in-dept look at the top 50 most commonly asked questions on the police oral board interview visit Police Oral Board Interview Secrets 

top 10 worst paying states for police officers

Since I published the top ten highest paid states for police officers, I thought I should do the same for the top 10 worst paying states for police officers. These stats are based off the mean salaries ending in the year of 2006. Enjoy!

State

Wage

1.

Mississippi

$13.59

2.

Arkansas

$13.67

3.

Louisiana

$13.75

4.

Oklahoma

$13.88

5.

Tennessee

$15.26

6.

Missouri

$15.39

7.

West Virginia

$15.44

8.

Vermont

$15.64

9.

Alabama

$15.80

10.

South Dakota

$16.07

*States not reporting: New York and District of Colombia

How To Think Like A Cop – Catch A Bold Face Liar

While we’re not advising people to use anything we say here and actually hit the streets like some comic book vigilante, we’re going to show what methods, techniques, and courses it would take for anyone to think like a cop.

Our first topic will be the ways to catch a liar, which is not only for official police use, but for any of us to employ every now and then, like finding out if your girl is cheating on you.

Catching a liar isn’t always that easy, but these tips should definitely get you on the right track.

Keep a look out for body language.

body language

This is probably the easiest place to start. Obviously, a liar could get fidgety or a little sweaty when being confronted, but there’s a lot more tell tale signs to look for.

Liars will most likely have stiff body movements and limit the use of their hands and arms. They’ll also keep their bodies close to themselves.

If a person keeps touching their face, mouth, or throat, they’re lying. This is also true if they constantly scratch their nose or their neck right behind the ears.

You can also detect a liar by their posture and gestures, such as the shrugging of their shoulders. Another thing to look out for is if the person will not make eye contact with you. Finally, check out submissive behavior, like a person putting their palms out when making a statement.

Watch their microexpressions.

mircoexpressions Thinking Like A Cop: How to Catch a Liar

This was discovered by psychologist Paul Ekman and is apparently very accurate.

Just like watching a liar’s body language, keeping track of their facial expressions is just, if not more important. The simplest way to detect a liar using their facial expressions is to catch phrases that don’t match the expression. For example, if your boss says that you did a good job, then flashes a look of displeasure, then you know he’s full of it. Another example is if your girl says “I love you,” while sporting a frown.

Another way a person’s face gives away their lie is timing between expressions, gestures, and words. If you buy your mom a present and she immediately declares “It’s perfect. I love it,” and smiles afterwards, she actually hates it.

Finally, pay attention if the person you are questioning is faking their facial expressions. You can spot a real smile from a fake one because a real smile will involve the whole face.

Listen to their verbal content and context.

conversation 550x412 Thinking Like A Cop: How to Catch a Liar

A liar will most likely slip when telling a fib. Make sure to pay attention to every word they have to say. They are bound to start making inconsistencies in their stories, such as, changing who, where, when and what they were doing this past weekend. They’ll also probably forget some details to fill in the holes.

However, they will also use unnecessary details to prove their innocence. A liar is going to keep blabbering away because they’re uncomfortable with pauses and silence.

A liar will also take your question for their answer. For example, if you ask your friend “Dude, did you drink the last beer?” and his response is “No, I did not drink the last beer,” he drank the last beer.

Other ways a lair’s speech will catch them in the act is if they leave out pronouns, speak in a monotonous tone, their words are too softly spoken, their wording is garbled and if their grammar and syntax is off.

If you’re not sure if a person is lying, simply change the subject. A liar will return to the original topic to prove their innocence.

If a person is defensive.

defensive Thinking Like A Cop: How to Catch a Liar

We’ve all heard this before, a liar can get defensive.

If a person resists answering your questions, or gets all beefed up, when being asked something, they’re probably  lying. They may even try to turn the tables on you and accuse you of lying. When they do that, they’re trying to project their lie onto you.

The placement of objects.

coffee Thinking Like A Cop: How to Catch a Liar

Pay attention to the objects around a liar, not because they’ll bash you in the head with a lamp, but it’s another signal. They will place nearby objects, like a coffee mug or book, between the two of you.

In your eyes.

A lot has been discussed about the correlation between eye movement and lying, which is called Eye Accessing Clues, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. However, it’s not as black and white as an episode of Law & Order makes it out to be, and some even believe that it’s a farce.

Let’s just use this visual aid to get the gist of it.

nlp Thinking Like A Cop: How to Catch a Liar

Got it?

Good.

You also have to be aware if a person is right handed or left handed. A leftie would have the opposite eye directions. While controversial, and a bit tricky, learning about NLP could be a useful asset.

Since humans are so complex, and some are born to be pathological liars, there’s no bulletproof tactic in determining whether a person is lying or telling the truth. Using these methods, along with some old school intuition, can at least give you a better handle on the situation.

source of article: http://amog.com/lifestyle/catch-liar/

Police Officer Hiring Process – Application, Interview

There are some simple but important things you can do to increase your chances of becoming a police officer or other law enforcement officer. The hiring process varies from department to department. The application, written test, physical fitness / agility test, drug screen, oral interview /  board, background interview / investigation, medical examination, and psychological evaluation are common steps in a hiring process. How well you do and whether or not you become a police officer, depends largely on how well you prepare!

The Application:

If you have to pick up an application, make sure you look and act appropriately when doing so. Remember, you never know who will see you and first impressions are often lasting ones. This is something you should remember from now on, especially after you become a law enforcement officer. When you are in public, always assume someone is watching. Always look, act, and sound professional.
It is important you fill out applications and other paperwork neatly. Your application can be a first impression. It can make you appear professional or it can make you seem sloppy. If it is sloppy and not legible, it could delay things such as your background investigation. It is important that you fill out applications and other paperwork completely. Follow the instructions exactly. Use only black or blue ink. If the instructions specify blue, use blue. If they specify black, use black. Police officers must pay attention to details while on the job. If you start off by filling out your application incorrectly, it will not look good. Be sure to use and spell words correctly. Use a dictionary or spell checker if necessary! When using complete sentences, be certain they are grammatically correct. Don’t use slang. Make sure to answer all questions. Answer all questions honestly. Honesty is extremely important if you want to become a police officer! Make sure that your facts are straight. If you list a previous employer and indicate that you worked there from 01-12-05 to 03-04-07, but during your background investigation, the employer provides the background investigator with different dates, it could cause a problem for you. It might appear as though you just wrote the wrong date by mistake or that you were trying to be dishonest. Either way, it won’t look good. If an employer believes that you have intentionally provided false or inaccurate information, you will almost certainly not be hired. Make sure that the information is correct and up-to-date for the references that you list.
It is important that you submit your application on time. If there is an application deadline, make sure that you meet it. If you are instructed to submit other paperwork with your application, be sure that you do so. I have seen applications get shredded without even being looked at just because applicants failed to submit things like a copy of their driver’s license or birth certificate when required. If a written test is part of the hiring process, you might be required to pay a fee when picking up or submitting an application. If you are delivering your application in person, remember to dress and act professionally.
You will be required to complete a background questionnaire and/or other paperwork as part of the hiring process. Follow the above advice when completing and submitting any paperwork. Be sure to make a copy of your completed application and background questionnaire for yourself before you submit them. Keep them in a safe place. Applications and background questionnaires ask several questions about your past. It might take you a while to remember or look-up information such as previous addresses, names of previous landlords, dates of previous employment, dates of any traffic citations you might have received, etc. Once you have all of this information, you don’t want to have to gather it again if the department looses your application or if you decide to apply to another department.
More and more law enforcement agencies are accepting applications or resumes online or via email. Some law enforcement agencies require you to complete an application online.
If you are required to submit a resume, make sure that you know how to write a good, professional looking resume. If you do not know how to write a good resume, ask for assistance from someone that does. There are also many resources available online, through schools, or at libraries that you can use to learn how to write a good resume.
The Police Officer Written Test:
Many law enforcement agencies require applicants to take a police written test as part of the hiring process. Often times they are civil service tests. Sometimes applicants are required to pay a fee for the tests. There are many police exam study guides and test preparation books available online or in bookstores. Most of them are relatively inexpensive, and can prove very beneficial. Some law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol offer specific study guides for their tests. If that is the case, be certain to take advantage of them! If you don’t know if there is a specific study guide, ask someone. If there is not a specific study guide, ask a recruiter or human resources person if there is any information that they can provide you about the test.
You should brush up on basic grammar and written communication skills. Written communication skills are very important for police officers. Brush up on basic math skills to include working with fractions and long division. Reading comprehension is a big part of many police exams. You can practice your reading comprehension skills with a partner very easily. Simply read an article or chapter of a book, and have your partner ask you questions about the article or chapter. Questions pertaining to observation and memorization are often a part of the test. you can easily improve your observation skills with practice. Some police departments require you to watch a video, and then answer questions about events that took place during the video and/or ask you to provide a description of someone that was in the video. Sometimes you might have to write a narrative of what took place in the video. Written tests will usually contain questions designed to gauge your common sense and decision making skills. Again, study guides and test preparation books are readily available, and offer practice or sample questions. Do all the practice questions that you can, then do them again and again. Make sure that you understand why the right answer is the right answer. If you need help, do not hesitate to ask for it.
If you are taking a police exam, make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before. Make sure that you eat a healthy breakfast. Dress appropriately. Always maintain a well-groomed, professional appearance. Be sure that you understand and follow all directions. Be sure to read the questions in their entirety before answering. Be aware of any time limits that may be in place. Pace yourself, but don’t feel too rushed. Take your time, but don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you are having difficulty with a particular question, skip it, and go back to it later. Just don’t forget to go back to it! Don’t leave any answers blank unless you know that it will not be counted against you. Use the process of elimination if necessary for multiple choice questions. Determine which answers you know are incorrect, and then make an educated guess from the remaining possibilities. For math questions, if you have time, go back and check your answers. And obviously, do not try to sneak a peek at anyone else’s answers. You will be asked to leave and to not return!
The Physical Fitness / Agility Test:
Physical fitness tests are designed to determine whether or not you are physically fit enough to accomplish what is required of you during an academy or to fulfill the duties of a law enforcement officer. Tests vary from agency to agency. Some are more difficult than others. Many tests include push-ups, sit-ups, runs, and obstacle course that might include scaling a wall or climbing a rope or into a window. Most tests are only graded as pass or fail. They are intended to ensure that applicants demonstrate a minimum fitness level prior to being hired. The tests usually measure an applicant’s strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. You should certainly prepare for a physical fitness test. Follow the workout in our Police Exam Prep Guide page. You should usually be informed what activities or exercises the test will consist of. Begin practicing the activities well in advance of the test, and strive to increase your proficiency with each activity. If you are taking a physical fitness test, make sure to dress appropriately, and maintain a professional demeanor at all times. Again, you never know who is watching or listening. Below are two example of entry-level physical fitness tests and minimum requirements needed to pass.
Activity 20-29 20-29 30-39 30-39 40+ 40+
Male Female Male Female Male Female
440 Yard Run (Time) 1:20 1:35 1:28 1:45 1:41 2:01
Sit-ups (1 minute) 24 24 21 21 17 17
Push-ups (1 minute) 21 9 18 7 15 5
Obstacle Course (Time) 15:40 18:70 16.94 20.57 19.48 23.66
Sit & Reach (” Past Toes) .5 .75 .5 .75 .25 .50
Activity 20-29 20-29 30-39 30-39 40+ 40+
Male Female Male Female Male Female
300 Meter Run (Time) 62.1 Sec. 75 Sec. 63 Sec. 82 Sec. 77 Sec. 107 Sec.
Bench Press (% Body Wgt.) .93 .56 .83 .51 .76 .47
Sit-ups (1 minute) 35 30 32 22 27 17
1.5 Mile Run (Time) 13:32 15:57 14:08 16:35 14:46 17:24
Sit & Reach (” Past Toes) .5 .75 .5 .75 .25 .50
The Drug Screen:
The drug screen is almost always a urine test. Candidate’s must provide a urine sample. The candidate will be observed while the sample is provided to ensure that no cheating is involved, and that the sample is indeed the candidates urine. The urine is sent to a laboratory and usually screened for amphetamines, marijuana (THC), cocaine, opiates (narcotic painkillers) and PCP. Sometimes, but not often, false positives are reported. If you do not pass the drug screen, you might get an opportunity to provide another sample.
The Oral Interview / Board:
The police oral interviews or boards are designed so that interviewers can observe your appearance, observe your demeanor, test your knowledge and communications skills, and find out how you do under pressure. Some say that the oral interview the main show stopper or deal maker. However, the background investigation probably eliminates more candidates that the oral interview. You should practice for the oral interview. It is very easy to do. There are several resources for sample interview questions. Have a friend or family member play the part of the interviewer, and do mock interviews. Practice, practice, practice. It is also a good idea to set up a video camera, and record your interviews so that you can view yourself, and improve your skills. There are several things to consider when it comes to oral interviews. Make sure that dress appropriately (suit and tie, shoes shined, etc.), and make sure that you are well-groomed. Be sure to get enough sleep the night before and eat a healthy breakfast the day of your interview. Arrive fifteen minutes early. When shaking hands, use a firm grip, and make eye contact with the person you are shaking hands with. Your verbal communication and non-verbal communication (body language) will be observed, and are both important. It has been estimated that 50 to 75 percent of communication is non-verbal. So, here are some tips. Don’t figit. Don’t appear too stiff. Don’t play with your hands or objects. Don’t tap your hands, feet, or anything else that so not to indicate nervous energy. Maintain good posture. Don’t slouch. Sit up straight. Keep your arms relaxed and at your sides. Don’t cross your arms. Use appropriate eye contact (consistent, not constant). Smile when appropriate. Appear confident, not cocky. Try to sound natural. Avoid Uh, Umm, etc. Be an active listener. Speak clearly, keep your answers appropriate, and don’t go off on a tangent. Don’t hesitate much, but think about what you are going to say before you say it. Be courteous and professional. Use Sir or Ma’am. When practicing and viewing your practice interviews on video, pay close attention to your verbal and non-verbal communication, determine your weaknesses, and eliminate them.
The Background Interview / Investigation:
A thorough background investigation includes a background interview. The officer or investigator conducting the background investigation will interview the candidate, face to face if possible, to get a feel for the candidate, discuss any areas of concern or answers that were not clear on the subject’s application or background questionnaire, and to answer any questions that the candidate might have. During the background investigation, the investigator will attempt to verify all the pertinent information supplied by the candidate. How many years back the investigator checks into depends on the department. Some might check back as far as they can, and others might only check back five or seven years. Having made some mistakes or bad decisions will not disqualify you in many cases. A candidate’s background is usually investigated very thoroughly and viewed in its entirety. Some departments have more stringent standards when determining suitability for employment. Although negative information in your background will not always disqualify you, dishonesty during the application and hiring process, if realized by the investigator, almost certainly will!
The Medical Examination:
You will be given a complete medical examination by a licensed physician to ensure that you are free from any physical defects or chronic that could hinder your performance as a law enforcement officer or that could endanger your life or the lives of others. Standards can vary a bit from state to state. Your medical history will be reviewed, and your immunization records will be checked. The doctor often checks your height and weight, your vital signs, your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, throat, your cardiovascular system, your respiratory system, your gastrointestinal system, your genitourinary system, your metabolic and endocrine systems, your musculoskeletal system, and your neurological system, and your dermatological system. In essence, he or she checks that all your important parts are in working order. Doctors check for certain diseases or conditions. Your exam could include blood tests, x-rays, an electrocardiogram, a pulmonary (lung) function test, a Tuberculosis (TB) test, etc. However, many times whether or not you are determined eligible to become a police officer depends on the severity of the condition. Like many other standards, vision standards also vary from department to department. Often times, you are required to have 20/20 corrected vision. Some departments do not have an uncorrected standard. Glasses, contact lenses, and different types of laser surgery are often acceptable. Your color vision, peripheral vision, and depth perception usually has to be normal.
The Psychological Evaluation:
The purpose of the psychological evaluation is to determine whether or not a candidate is mentally suitable to be a police officer. Psychological evaluations can consist of multiple types of tests. Categories of psychological tests are achievement and aptitude tests, intelligence tests, neuropsychological tests, occupational tests, personality tests, and specific clinical tests. How much of an assessment a police department requires varies. Most law enforcement agencies seem to be primarily concerned with achievement and aptitude, intelligence, and personality tests. Many agencies use the MMPI-2 test.